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Treat Anhydrous With Respect

Fall is anhydrous application season in our part of the world. The benefits of anhydrous as a fertilizer source are well documented. So is the need to follow proper safety procedures when using the product. The safety checklist is extensive, but I would like to emphasize just a few areas in this article.

The first is the most obvious—always wear proper gloves and goggles when handling anhydrous ammonia. Leather work gloves and wrap-around sunglasses won’t do. This one is so important that United Prairie will provide any customer using one of our anhydrous toolbars with gloves and goggles if they don’t have them.

My second point of emphasis is also something that the regulatory agencies are watching closely—toolbar maintenance. If you operate your own anhydrous toolbar, here are a few items to check off your list:

  • Take a close look at the breakaways on the toolbar. Pull them apart, lubricate them, and make sure they are functioning properly, and replace them as needed.
  • Make sure the primary hoses on the bar are within the date limitations. Replace hoses that are past their expiration date.
  • Keep a maintenance log. Any time you perform any maintenance, enter it in the log. This becomes extremely important in the event there is an accidental release. In those cases, documentation is the first thing a regulatory agency will ask for.

Finally, follow all safety procedures when transporting anhydrous tanks to the field. If at all possible, have someone experienced in working with anhydrous handle the transport. Make sure all the safety chains are hooked and safety clips are in place on the hitch pins.

The Illinois Fertilizer and Chemical Association (IFCA), in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, has put together a short safety video addressing anhydrous regulations and proper anhydrous handling. The video is available on the IFCA website,

We want all of you to have a successful application season, so please—take your time and stay safe.

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